Monday, March 21, 2011

Google.Org to Facilitate Scientists' Communication of Climate Change

The philanthropic arm of Google, aka Google.Org, has organized a team of 21 climate scientists to help communicate the realities of climate science.  The main goal is to counter the "climate change skeptics who have created a political megaphone in Washington" to "create noise" and disinform, rather than inform, the public and policy-makers.  The level of disinformation was evident in the recent Republican led denial of scientific knowledge.

The 21 scientists will serve for one year as Google Science Communication Fellows. According to, "these fellows were elected from a pool of applicants of early to mid-career Ph.D. scientists nominated by leaders in climate change research and science-based institutions across the U.S."  The focus of the fellows is on communicating the science, so "chose scientists who had the strongest potential to become excellent communicators."  The list of scientists can be found here.

Paul Higgins, who is one of the Google Fellows and an associate policy director at the American Meteorological Society, noted the disconnect between scientists and policy-makers:
"We are seeing very clearly with climate change that our policy choices are currently not grounded in knowledge and understanding...If we were well informed as a society — and if policymakers were well informed — then they would be taking the risk that climate change should be taken seriously."

According to Google, Kelly Levin, a senior research associate at the World Resources Institute, hoped that the program would "engage wider audiences in the scientific discussion."  Further, she noted:
"Given the pace and scale of human-induced climate change, it is of great importance that climate change science, and the urgency of addressing the climate change problem, is communicated effectively to the public and decision makers."
 More information about the program can be read here.

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